Every betrayed partner knows that discovery, disclosure, and healing from chronic infidelity come at a cost.
The shock, pain, and devastation of betrayal are immense, and their impact reverberates in every area of a partner’s life — including her physical health, her trust in her reality or thoughts, her emotional stability, and her spiritual life.
In addition to the more obvious costs of betrayal, there are many that may be less apparent, but are equally significant.
Here are 4 invisible costs of betrayal:
When you are in the beginning stages of discovery or disclosure, you are profoundly disoriented and that is to be expected. Disorientation causes you to doubt your reality, and it short-circuits your ability to think clearly.
You may be chronically forgetful, or unable to focus on ordinary tasks or track with conversations. You may walk into a room with the intention to do something or to get something, but once there you can’t remember why.
As you try to make sense of your new reality, most of your thinking is laser-focused on trying to re-orient and integrate what you have discovered or learned, and you will have limited capacity for engaging in more complex problem-solving or higher level tasks or projects.
During this time, you may need to take a temporary break — if possible — from certain responsibilities, including work, taking care of an aging parent, or even parenting so that you can focus on the intensive self-care you need for your healing.
Loss of Creativity
Every person has at least one or two unique capabilities or strengths, and these are their creative gifts to the world. For most people, these gifts are what give their life meaning, and make life more worth living.
When you’re facing the discovery of chronic betrayal, most of your energy and time is understandably focused on healing, and your creative life is temporarily dormant. This loss of creativity not only impacts your quality of life, it also impacts others who benefit from your creative gifts.
Any betrayed partner who has simultaneously needed to take care of young children and navigate betrayal knows that it can be almost impossible to do either of these with full attention and focus. You may be so preoccupied with the impact of betrayal and your healing that you are simply not able to attend to your children in the way you usually do.
If this is the case for you, find ways to get support from friends, family members, or babysitters. Mothers are notoriously reluctant to temporarily outsource childcare to others, but if doing so will speed up your healing process, it is more than worth the short-term discomfort — not only to you but also to your children.
Contribution to the World
Because every person — and every betrayed partner — has unique gifts to offer to the world, when she is engaged in the intensive self-care required to heal from betrayal, her contribution to the world is temporarily disrupted.
The cost of betrayal not only impacts you, but it has the potential to impact untold numbers of people you touch through you words, your actions, and simply your presence. Allow this realization to motivate you to treat yourself as your most prized possession, for your sake as well as for the benefit of others.
The good news is that in time and with good self-care and boundaries, you will not only reclaim these parts of yourself and your life, but you will also be stronger, wiser, and more resilient than before.
Be gentle with yourself, and take good care.
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© Vicki Tidwell Palmer, LCSW (2019)